Our Second Chance


Chapter Summary


  VALUES-BY-NUMBER

This sequel begins with an overview of the distinction between number-based values and qualitative (or human-based) values.  It also picks up where The Value Crisis left off, defining what Welch calls our three value personae: the Consumer, the Investor, and the Citizen - all of which exist simultaneously in every one of us.

Nowhere in nature is more always worth more.  Sustainable life relies on sufficiency and balance.

  WEALTH OF POSSIBILITIES

We would all love to be wealthy.  But there are different concepts of 'wealth'.  Some are quantitative, some are qualitative, some are both.  One of the breakthroughs in this essay is a method for visualizing changes in qualitative values over time.  The mapping technique that Welch uses opens up a whole new application of existing strategies to the value crisis.

Real wealth is subject to the limiting laws of thermodynamics; virtual wealth is not.  They are not equivalent, and because of this, transactions between them are not objectively fair exchanges.

  ENOUGH STUFF

Any exploration of values would not be complete without examining our relationship with our things. Real wealth (our stuff) is the second most common measure of wealth (after virtual wealth, i.e. money).  Of course, all of these values interact and figure in exchanges.  Examining how we think about our personal stuff is a key step in determining what makes us happy.  Or not.

Classical economics values and rewards scarcity, making the extraction, consumption, and reduction of available resources an actual goal.

  HEAD BUTS

At its core, our value crisis is value systems in conflict.  It is imperative that we learn how to recognize these conflicts and resolve them.  Being a polarity, there are no right or wrong answers, but a dynamic balance is needed.  The first lesson to learn is that you can't have it both ways - the COVID-19 pandemic was a clear illustration of what happens when leaders attempt to fix a healthcare crisis while also striving for economic growth.  This essay explores the tools needed to address value conflicts.

Actions taken to improve humanity's prospects for survival will almost always have immediate negative economic consequences.  The value of such actions will need to be measured on other scales.

  THE GAME CHANGER

One of the most exciting positive outcomes of our global pandemic is a renewed discussion of the power and feasibility of basic income programs.  Here, the reader will find both the arguments for implementing such schemes, and responses to the most common objections.  Of particular note is that, even though there are supporters and detractors, the concept of a Guaranteed Living Allowance is supported across the full political spectrum, making its implementation a realistic possibility, even in our politically polarized world.

A guaranteed basic income goes far beyond poverty eradication.  It completely changes the way each and every individual considers their future and purpose.

  OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY

One curious side effect of our number-dominated society is our phenomenal obsession with jobs.  Yes, humans want to be productive and have things to do, but no one chooses a job as their preferred means of survival.  So why does every single government, regardless of political stripe, focus on jobs as the ultimate goal that everyone wants?

Jobs are used to grow the economy so that the economy can provide more jobs to make growth possible.  Neither jobs nor economic growth are essential for anything but each other.

  POLITICAL CLIMATE CHANGE

An effective response to our greatest societal challenges is going to require actions at the level of our elected decision-makers.  This essay reveals why governments have been unable to take serious action against our climate emergency and other disasters.  The real problems range from public sector values through voting systems.  Our governments need to measure success differently, which means we need to change their scorecards.

Don't monetize nature.  Instead change our value systems to be compatible with the natural world.

  GIFT IDEAS

One particularly relevant manifestion of human values is the concept of gifts.  Since gifts are a familiar idea to most people, a deep dive into the world of gifts is very effective for bringing those values into focus in an accessible way.  The first revelation is that a gift is not a thing - it's an action.  From that perspective, everything begins to fall into place.

The true values of gifts are qualitative, using the currencies of relationship, emotion, and caring.

  AN UNQUANTIFIED SUCCESS

Classical economists have major difficulties wrapping their heads around realistic present-day gift and sharing economies.  Welch introduces a new concept - qualitative economies - which include those alternatives, but which he shows already exist today, as backgrounds to our status quo ideas of monetary economies.  Change is possible right now!  We just need to alter our perspectives.

Alternative economic models need not mean everything has to be free.  Qualitative economies can still use money, but they measure value differently.

  INCORPORATING CHANGES

As huge and powerful components of modern society, the role of corporations must be included in any exploration of value systems.  Publicly-traded commercial corporations are uniquely driven by number-based values and nothing else.  This was examined in great detail in The Value Crisis.  The good news is that we defined the myth of 'incorporation', and we can alter it.  We'll see examples of some encouraging recent changes, and learn what else is still needed.

There is no such thing as corporate greed.  Corporations are programmed by us to maximize income - they have no concept of sufficiency or excess.

  LAND MINE

Our predominant economic thought is based on scarcity.  Nowhere is this more apparent than when we consider how the value of our planet's diminishing available land and natural resources determines who holds all the wealth and power.  As our value systems evolve, it will be important to know how different implementations of natural wealth ownership could actually be possible - ones that are based on abundance instead.

Natural resources don't simply belong to the common people - they also belong to our future generations.

  MONEY FOR NOTHING

One of the worse causes of global inequity and our value crisis is the long-standing dominance of rentiers - those that contribute little to society and reap enormous monetary rewards based on declared ownership.  Unearned profits are called economic rent.  This essay takes a fresh new look at ownership, intellectual property, and wealth inheritance.

The law of diminishing marginal value should be applied to creative works so that the thousandth copy generates much less income than the first.

  FREI AT LAST

This book is focused on sharing powerful solutions to the value crisis.  Building on the work of Henry George and Silvio Gessel, this essay reviews some of the more incredible strategies that actually have a history of proven success.  While each would struggle as an isolated implementation, a society that employs Guaranteed Basic Incomes, Land Value Tax, demurrage currencies, and new perspectives on ownership could well be our second chance for species survival.

Money that decreases in value over time corrects some of the worst problems that virtual wealth presently inflicts on society.

 

Captus Press
ISBN 978-1-55322-419-8 eBook
ISBN 978-1-55322-420-4 paperback

Copyright © 2022 Andrew Welch